A couple of weeks ago, I reflected on delivering my first workshops in my new role as a lecturer. This was, however, technically before my new contract started. Today I can now reflect on my first official week in post as a lecturer.
My first day was technically the 1st of October (the date stated on the contract). While it wasn’t a working day, I actually logged in on the 1st of the month to check my role had switched from ‘Academic and Library Specialist‘ to ‘Lecturer in Education Studies‘. It had. Phew! ?? My main reason for doing this was so I could renew my library books which were currently on recall due to the contract change. It was also reassuring to know I’d still get paid at some point too. ?
The system changes were more important than just Library access – they also gave me a route into the systems I’d need as an academic. I could finally see who my personal supervisees were – and access the data I needed to support them. Of course – this is all a strange aspect of my internal move and does not have so much to do with the roles themselves. It also represented the loss of access to the Library’s internal systems. In particular, I will very much miss using LibGuides and LibCal – part of the LibApps suite. These were excellent tools, although not something I will need day-to-day anymore. I’ve also lost access to (and responsibility for) the Library’s social media. Suffice it to say – my Twitter notifications have gone down significantly!
New role, new contact
This contract change to lecturer also represented my final step out of the thirdspace as I am now officially in an academic post. Having worked in the thirdspace for a decade, I know this is a significant change. In an academic role, I now have new opportunities for career development and progression. There are also clearer policies governing things like intellectual property and consultancy, which were always challenging in the thirdspace as there was an assumption no one in professional services would produce content in this scope. A lot of this doesn’t really matter right here and now, but it represents future opportunities. There is also much more freedom and control in the day-to-day work, more reflective of the duties than anything else.
My teaching workload is focused on educational research, and I couldn’t be happier. I am part of the teams working on the level 7 dissertation (60 credits) and research design and implementation (30 credits) modules. I am also supporting the level 6 extended research project module (60 credits). This essentially gives me the dissertation and research methods support at both levels 6 and 7, bringing foucs to my new role. These modules really fit in with my areas of expertise and I can’t wait to see that the students do with their research opportunity.
For me, the level 6 work is exciting as it is a brand new module, so we all have the opportunity to put our mark on it and shape the content. For the level 7 modules, the content is mostly developed so we can focus on delivery instead. This gives me time to prepare more thoroughly, and as we have a diverse and international cohort, I look forward to learning about educational concepts and theories beyond the UK.
In focus: My first week
Focusing on my first week in more detail, it was brilliant to deliver my second workshop for two of the modules I am part of. It was particularly nice to see the same group of students for a second week, something that is a novelty compared to my old role. As a Learning Developer, I would see a revolving door of students from every discipline and level of study. As a lecturer, I am supporting three modules and a number of personal supervisees. I will see the same students over and over again. We can learn names, get to know each other and build a relationship. This will allow us to build connections and trust, enabling higher levels of discussion and debate in workshops. I also hope it will allow honesty and candidness, which are enablers for topics like positionally and ethics. This will develop in time, but we were really able to hit the ground running this week after the groundwork set in the first session. I’ve already spoken with so many passionate students this last week; the whole experience has been totally energising.
With this role, there is also a lot of responsibility. Lecturers play a significant role in the student experience and are often the primary contact students have with the university. Given my module allocation, it is essential to acknowledge that supporting students with their dissertations is a significant undertaking as these assessments tend to have a high weighting. At level 6, the module is worth half of their final year. For level 7 students, the dissertation is the equivalent of one-third of their grade. These modules are essential for student success, and I will be doing everything in my power to make them a fantastic experience for my students.
Another area of responsibility is also personal supervision. As a personal supervisor, I will act as that first port of call for students in need. I have much to learn in this area, but there is also excellent support from the Faculty, so I feel very comfortable in this undertaking. I also have the benefit of my previous years working in the same institution, so I am very familiar with the services available. I’m looking forward to developing my role as a personal supervisor, and it will be great to get to know these students more in weeks to come.
Earlier this month I reflected on leaving the thirdspace. This post continues my reflections on the transition to my new job!